Lakers News, Rumors 2014: Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Clarkson
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to play their first preseason game on Monday night and the news and rumors have been ramping up.
Check out the latest buzz below.
Nash and Bryant Working Out Kinks
Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are still adjusting to playing with each other, as they haven’t played a game together since March 30, 2014.
“In some ways, there are some moments where it’s seamless,” Nash told the Los Angeles Times of playing with Bryant. “And in other ways, we’re still figuring our way together because we haven’t played that many games together and we’ve played together in three different offenses now. So it’s always kind of been in flux and adjustments.”
Despite not playing a game with Nash last year, Bryant sees no problem bonding with Nash.
“It’s never been something that’s been difficult,” he said. “It’s extremely, extremely easy. We see a lot of the same things, as far as getting to the right spots. It’s effortless.”
Coach Byron Scott says that he’s “extremely happy” with the way Bryant and Nash looked in training camp.
Lin, Clarkson to Step Up in Young’s Absence
Nick Young suffered an injury in training camp that will keep him out six to eight weeks, and Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson are among the players expected to step up in his place.
It’s still unclear if Lin will be starting at point guard or coming off the bench, but he could get some minutes at shooting guard because of the injury.
If Lin does come off the bench, it could be in a sixth man role with Young injured.
Scott said that he’s not sure who will fill in for Young but did say that Bryant might play at small forward more, reported Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. That would make room for Lin and Nash, or one of them with Clarkson, to work together at times in the backcourt.
Lin has been spending what appears to be all of his time as the point guard with the second unit, reported the LA Times. Scott complimented Lin’s work in practice.
“I like him a lot. I really do. On defense he really knows where to be. He’s gritty, just like I knew he would be,” Scott said. “He’s going to guard you to the best of his ability, and he never gives up on a play. Offensively he runs the team. He gets to the basket. I love the way he pushes the ball in the open floor.”
Bryant Praises Johnson
Wesley Johnson is expected to either start at small forward or come off the bench for significant minutes.
Johnson has done well so far preparing for the season, earning praise from Bryant.
“He looks phenomenal. He looks incredible. He can full all day, he’s defending with a passion. He’s covering lanes,” Bryant told Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters.
“He’s shooting at gaps defensively. He’s playing post defense, perimeter defense. He’s doing it all.”
Nash Might Not Retire
Nash has said multiple times he planned on this being his last year but he now says that he might not.
Nash told the L.A. Daily News that wanting to play more hinges on a few variables.
“My health, enjoyment and effectiveness,” said Nash, who’s entering his 19th season as the NBA’s oldest player at age 40.
“If I have a chance to play, it would have to be here. I’m not going to at this stage move somewhere else for a season and move my kids there.”
Nash plans on staying in Los Angeles for at least a little while, but says he’s not sure what he’ll do after retiring. “That’s going to be a transition period,” Nash said. “Really, I’m in no rush. I’m going to take my time and make sure I figure it is what I want to spend my time doing and not rush it. It needs time. Maybe it will take me a year, two years or five years. I feel like the longer I take the better.”
Price Impressing Teammates
Ronnie Price has impressed teammates and coaches in training camp and appears to be a potential contributor.
Price averaged just 7.1 minutes when playing for the Utah Jazz against the Lakers from 2008 to 2010, but Bryant remembers him.
“When he was in Utah, he gave us a lot of problems,” Bryant said. “He really turned a few games around for them up in Utah with his energy and his ability to get to the basket.”
Bryant singled out Price as someone who impressed him in training camp.
Price says that he wants to contribute. “I’m just trying to do my job day-to-day, practice-by-practice to set a tone for myself and to push myself,” Price told NBA.com. “I’m pushing myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself in my career because I want to be part of this team, and I want people on the staff and my teammates to respect me over the long haul.”